Women's World Cup announcement massive opportunity for Fiji

    The Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup was delighted when Australia and New Zealand were named co-hosts for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. 

    The tournament will be the first pan-confederation FIFA event which will only further boost the development of the world game in Asia and Oceania.

    As a host nation, Oceania powerhouse New Zealand, will automatically qualify thus opening up a spot for another Pacific nation to reach the 32-team tournament for the first time.

    Fiji made the final of the 2018 OFC Women's Nations Cup and are ranked 66th in the world, only behind New Zealand (23rd) and Papua New Guinea (46th) in Oceania.

    Fiji Football CEO Mohammed Yusuf said it was an incredible opportunity for the nations in the region.

    "This will give one of the island countries a chance to go to the World Cup directly, and it's a massive push for women's football in the Pacific," Yusuf told Radio New Zealand.

    "Fiji FA will now go into overdrive to ensure that our girls are well prepared in the next two years, to be able to compete in Oceania and qualify." 

    Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup director Bruce Tilt said he is keen to assist Fiji Football achieve their dream of qualification success.

    "A door has opened up for Fiji and they now have to go back over what they have been doing for the last few years and step it up a level," Tilt said.

    "It is important for Fiji to understand that it is not a given right (to qualify) because all the other Oceania teams will be just as passionate and competitive to get there.

    "Having run the Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup for the last decade, I have loved seeing the nation's love for football evolve and I am very much looking forward to helping them tackle this excellent opportunity by exposing Fijian talent to international opposition. 

    Tilt, who also coaches the Illawarra Stingrays in the Football NSW WNPL 1, said the announcement will just add a little bit more incentive to players striving to reach the top.

    "It's just three years away and the door it open for new talent to go a World Cup," he said.

    "The Matildas squad is far from done and dusted and there will be a few spots up for grabs in the upcoming W-League seasons - it's a fantastic opportunity.

    "For those younger, it will be the first time in there lives that they will see so many nations on our doorstep. It is a great opportunity to learn and be inspired - not just girls but boys as well."

    Photo: AsOne2023


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